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Parliamentary Monitor: Issue 7
Parliamentary Monitoring Trust (Zimbabwe)
September 26, 2011

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Drama in the august house as MPs play truant

Parliament on Wednesday last week sent wrong signals to the citizens of Zimbabwe by having the house automatically adjourn because there was no quorum during the debate on late General Solomon Mujuru’s condolence motion. The disrespect for whatever reason will remain in the annals of history. For a house that started with over 60 members in the chamber to dramatically fall below the mandatory 25 in less than an hour during the motion is a cause for introspection among our MPs. For the record the debate was adjourned not only once but twice in the same sitting for failure to have a quorum. This sharply contrasts with the thousands of people from all walks of life who thronged the National Heroes Acre. For this first time this decade politicians from across the political divide came to the shrine to bury a hero who had died in a mysterious fire at his farm in August. Zanu PF politburo member Kudakwashe Bhasikiti who moved the motion was left seething with anger. It is understandable and most citizens would feel the same about such reprehensible behavior. On the other hand Zanu PF Mbire MP Paul Mazikana who played the devil’s advocate when he committed a tactical blunder by alerting the speaker that the house had no quorum soon after MDC-T’s Settlement Chikwinya had started contributing to the debate will carry the shame for the rest of his life. The house was adjourned with 21 members in the chamber instead of the mandatory 25. Of the 21, 13 were from Zanu PF while the remainder was from MDC-T. Ironically, there was no chief whip on either side of the benches when the house was adjourned. Bhasikiti is expected to swallow his pride and seek leave of the house to resuscitate his motion at the stage it was when it adjourned. However, questions would remain if the tainted motion would excite debate once more after its dismal failure when introduced for the first time. Probably it is high time MPs are reminded to take the duties seriously especially when dealing with matters close to people’s emotions.

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